Non-Communicable Diseases Account for 52 Percent of Deaths in Ethiopia - Study

By Staff Reporter

WHO-EthiopiaSeptember 5, 2019 ( – Non-Communicable Diseases (NDCs) are the cause of high causality in Ethiopia, accounting for 52 percent of annual deaths, a study has revealed.

According to a study conducted by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of five Ethiopians die prematurely, before the age of 70 years due to NDCs.

The study estimates that NDCS are costing Ethiopia at least 31.3 billion birr or $1.1 billion per year, which is equivalent to 1.8 percent of the country’s GDP.

The main causes NDCs are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical in activity.

Urgent action is needed against NDCs, otherwise called the silent killers, which are posing a threat to social development and economic progress in Ethiopia, said Esther Mary Aceng-Dokotum, the WHO representative while launching the study on Thursday in Addis Ababa.

“Ethiopia has a high burden of NDCs and the number of disability adjusted life years lost due to NDCs has increased three times during the past 25 years,“ she said.

In 2015, an estimated 65,000 cases of cancer occurred in Ethiopia, two third of which were with women.

The average life expectancy at birth in Ethiopia was 65.5 years in 2016. It varies by gender: 63.7 for men and 67.3 for women. The average life expectancy figure is higher than the average of 61.2 years for the whole of African region.

The study indicates that tobacco use is lower in Ethiopia than in many other countries as 7.3 percent of men and only 0.4 percent of women smoke. Nevertheless, a strong tobacco control measures are necessary to keep the rates low and make it even lower, according to the report.

The study states 23 policy interventions will be made to reduce the risk factors for NDCs. The intervention requires the nation to invest 20.8 billion Birr ($0.72 billion) to prevent more than one million premature deaths over 15 years.

The interventions can also prevent diseases and disabilities such as those caused by strokes. The study indicated that heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease are common NDCs in Ethiopia.

Harmful alcohol consumption among the people consuming alcohol appears to be low in Ethiopia especially for women. Attributable NDCs to alcohol consumption include many forms of cancer, pancreatitis, epilepsy, and diabetes.

The total alcohol consumption per capita in Ethiopia was 2.9 liters in the year reported, which is below the average for the African region surveyed by WHO. The report stated that Ethiopia has the lowest rates of alcohol consumption compared to alcohol consumption in Africa.

The study further noted that the government has so far given minimal attention to negative impacts of NDCs with small budgetary allocation.

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